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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Category: Bigotry

    This category is dedicated to the bottom rung of humanity at its worst — racists, homophobes, and other bigots — and, occasionally, employees at their finest.

    This ‘Real Man’ Requires A Substitute

    | BC, Canada | Bigotry, Top

    (I’ve just started a new job after having a baby a few months back. I’m a single mother. I am processing my first refund-to-gift-card transaction. I’m having a little bit of trouble with it, so I ask if they would mind if I called my manager.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. This is my first time doing this. Would you mind if I phoned my manager to ask him how it’s done?”

    Customer: “Go figure! That’s what happens when we start hiring women! They can’t do anything right, can they? You ought to be barefoot pregnant in the kitchen, not taking jobs from hardworking men.”

    Me: “I’m very sorry, sir. I actually just started this job after having a baby.”

    Customer: “So, you’re leaving a real man at home to look after your child while you take money for yourself?”

    Me: *appalled* “If you’ll excuse me, sir, I’m just going to call my manager to ask him how the refund is done.”

    Customer: “Go home to your b*****d baby! Leave the jobs to real men!”

    (At this point, a tall metal head-looking man, with long hair, piercings, and ripped jeans approaches the counter behind the man. I recognize him as a teacher who’d substituted for some classes when I was in school. He speaks up.)

    Substitute Teacher: “If all the jobs are for hardworking men, what the h*** are you doing here at two in the afternoon instead of working?”

    (The customer turns white at the sight of him, gathers up his items and runs off without getting his refund. I thanked the substitute with my first ever gift card transaction, and he took me out to dinner. He, my baby and I have been a family ever since!)

    Indiscriminate Discrimi-nation, Part 2

    | Auckland, New Zealand | Bigotry

    Caller: “Can I speak with [banker name]?”

    Me: “I’m so sorry, but she’s in a meeting right now. Is there something I can help with?”

    Caller: “I’m having trouble hearing you. Can you speak up?”

    (I move my headset closer.)

    Me: “Is there anything I can help you with?”

    Caller: “Your accent is appalling! I hate talking to you Asians!”

    Me: *mild shock* “Ma’am, I’m a kiwi, born and bred.”

    Caller: “Nonsense! Where were you born?”

    Me: “At [giant public hospital in Auckland].”

    Caller: “Oh, but your parents must be Asians! They’re everywhere!”

    Me: “No, ma’am. My parents are Scottish stock, and have been here five generations.”

    Caller: “D*** you Asians!” *click*

    Indiscriminate Discrimi-nation

    Not Much Of An Enabler

    | Kansas, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests, Top

    (My college has a free laser tag game set up in the courtyard by a local group. One of the players, a boy I know fairly well, is knock-kneed to the point of it being a minor disability, and slowing his steps tremendously. He is a good shot, however, and wishes to play. We have about three rounds when a woman storms up to the two men running the event as we all re-load.)

    Woman: “Why are you letting them pick on this poor boy?”

    Employee #1: “Pick on… who?” *looks at group, confused*

    Woman: *points at the knock-kneed boy* “Him!”

    Me: “We’re picking on you?”

    Boy: “No, don’t think so. I’m having fun!”

    Woman: “How can you have fun? They can all run around, and you can’t! You have to hold still!”

    Boy: “A lot of people hold still, there are the forts to hang onto.”

    Girl: “And thanks for reminding him about the disability, lady.”

    Employee #2: “Ma’am, I assure you [company] does not allow bullying in its games.”

    Woman: “You can’t let disabled people play sports! They feel discriminated against!”

    Employee #1: “So, in order not to discriminate against this boy by letting him play, we should discriminate against him by not letting him play?”

    Woman: “I’m reporting this!” *storms off to the help desk*

    (She found out that the help desk was student run, and the boy running it was the knock-kneed boy’s former roommate. She was laughed out!)

    Cult-ivating Ignorance

    | Hilliard, OH, USA | Bigotry, Religion

    (I managed a family-owned bookstore that caters to Mormons. We have people come in weekly to pick fights with us, and by this time I was use to being called about every name in the book.)

    Customer: “You have a lot of pictures of Jesus in here. Is this a Christian book store?”

    Me: “Yes, we cater to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    Customer: “Church of Christ you say? Cool, okay.” *wanders off*

    (About 10 minutes later he comes back, confused.)

    Customer: “Why do you have the Book of Mormon in your store?”

    Me: “It is one of our Holy books, along with the Bible.”

    Customer: “Is this a Mormon store?”

    Me: “Yes, the LDS Church is one of the branches of the Mormon religion.”

    Customer: “Aren’t you a cult?”

    Me: “No, were just another kind of Christian, like Catholics or Protestants but with our own beliefs that set us apart.”

    Customer: “No, you are a cult.”

    Me: “Cults generally follow one leader, and our leader is Jesus Christ. So, if you want to say following Jesus makes one in a cult then you may be right.”

    Customer: “You follow Jesus, you say? Is this the Jesus you follow in the pictures on the wall?” *points to an image of Christ overlooking Jerusalem*

    Me: “Yes.”

    Customer: “Well, you are a cult then. That Jesus looks too perfect.”

    Me: *confused* “We do believe that Jesus, as the Son of God, is perfectly perfect.”

    Customer: “No, that’s a lie. Jesus can’t be perfect. Only God is perfect.”

    Me: “Yes, and we believe that Jesus is God.”

    Customer: “Wait, you worship Jesus?”

    Me: “Um… yes.”

    Customer:Real Christians don’t worship Jesus. You are a cult!” *storms out*

    Stamping Out Equality

    | Traverse City, MI, USA | Bigotry

    (I am working a slow late night at the service counter. A snobbish woman comes up for some stamps.)

    Customer: “I would like a book of forever stamps.”

    Me: “Okay, no problem. That’s $9.00.” *hands woman stamps*

    Customer: *looking disappointed* “Is this the only design you got?”

    Me: “Yes, is there a problem with this design?”

    Customer: “Yes, these quotes on them… I don’t like the fact that say equality. I don’t believe in equality.” *walks away*

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